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(This document describes version 2.509)

CHICKEN is a compiler that translates Scheme source files into C, which in turn can be fed to a C-compiler to generate a standalone executable. This principle, which is used by several existing compilers, achieves high portability because C is implemented on nearly all available platforms. An interpreter is also available and can be used as a scripting environment or for testing programs before compilation.

This package is distributed under the BSD license and as such is free to use and modify.

The method of compilation and the design of the runtime-system follow closely Henry Baker's CONS Should Not CONS Its Arguments, Part II: Cheney on the M.T.A. paper and expose a number of interesting properties:

The generated C code is fully tail-recursive.

Some of the features supported by CHICKEN:

This manual is merely a reference for the CHICKEN system and assumes a working knowledge of Scheme.

The manual is split in the following sections:

Basic mode of operation
Compiling Scheme files.
Using the compiler
Explains how to use CHICKEN to compile programs and execute them.
Using the interpreter
Invocation and usage of csi, the CHICKEN interpreter
Supported language
The language implemented by CHICKEN (deviations from the standard and extensions).
Interface to external functions and variables
Accessing C and C++ code and data.
Packaging and installing extension libraries.
Data representation
How Scheme data is internally represented.
Bugs and limitations
Yes, there are some.
A list of Frequently Asked Questions about CHICKEN (and their answers!).
A list of some of the people that have contributed to make CHICKEN what it is.
Links to documents that may be of interest.